The Group of Twenty (G20) is an international forum that brings together the world’s leading industrialised and emerging economies. The group accounts for 85% of world GDP and 2/3rd of its population.

Image: G-20 countries
Image Source: United Global Asset


It was founded in 1999 with the aim of studying, reviewing, and promoting high-level discussion of policy issues pertaining to the promotion of international financial stability.

The forum was created at the initiative of the seven major industrial countries (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, U.K. and USA) to promote consultations and coordination with the emerging and developing economies.

Initially, attendance at G-20 summits was limited to the finance ministers and central bank governors of members, when it was established 18 years ago. But since an inaugural meeting between G20 leaders in Washington DC following the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008, summits between G20 leaders themselves have become an annual event.

The G20 leaders’ summit was created as a response both to the financial crisis of 2008 and to a growing recognition that key emerging countries were not adequately included in the core of global economic discussion and governance.

The heads of the G-20 nations met semi-annually at G-20 summits between 2008 and 2011. Since the November 2011 Cannes summit, all G-20 summits have been held annually.

Aim and Objective:

Its primary aim is to promote international financial stability through discussions.

Though the G-20’s primary focus is effective global economic governance, the themes of its summits vary from year to year.

About G-20:

The G-20 operates without a permanent secretariat or staff. The incumbent chair establishes a temporary secretariat for the duration of its term. The group’s chair rotates annually among the members and is selected from a different regional grouping of countries.

It is not governed by any written rules or laws.

All the decisions are collectively taken, there is no voting process and no decision is made at the discretion of a single party.

Each year, the G20’s guests include Spain; the Chair of ASEAN; two African countries (the Chair of the African Union and a representative of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development) and a country (sometimes more than one) invited by the presidency, usually from its own region. In addition to these 20 members, the chief executive officers of several other international forums and institutions participate in meetings of the G-20. These include high level representatives of the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, etc.

The Leaders’ “Declaration” or “Communique” is the final outcome of G20 Summit. It highlights the progress made in the G-20 work in the past year, the G20 deliverables in the following year and the strategies and action plans to achieve these deliverables.

The group formally announced that it would replace the G8 as the main economic council of wealthy nations.


Image: waving flags of G-20 countries

The member of G-20 are: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, U.K., U.S., and European Union.

The EU is represented by the European Commission, rotating Council presidency and the European Central Bank (ECB).


  • No representation for some major economies like Spain, Poland, etc.
  • Efficient Global Economic Governance is the objective of G-20. But most of the decisions taken are no way related to the economic wellbeing of underdeveloped nations.
  • Under-representation of the African continent. There is only one representation from Africa.
  • Although Norway is a major developed economy and the seventh-largest contributor to UN international development programs, it is not a member of the EU, and thus is not represented in the G-20 even indirectly.
  • Efforts to reform world’s financial institutions met with limited success due to lack of consensus between developing and developed nations.
  • The G-20’s transparency and accountability have been questioned by critics. Most important G-20 meetings are closed-door.
  • The cost and extent of summit-related security is often a contentious issue in the hosting country.
  • G-20 summits have attracted protesters from a variety of backgrounds, including information activists, environmentalists and opponents of crony capitalism.

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